Friday, 2 April 2010

Rural Life: medical facts

So the Old Man needs an operation. They don't do this operation in Cornwall. They do it in Devon.
So he drives 120 miles to see the surgeon. And he's "not on the list". The Old Man waves his appointment letter at the receptionist and he gets squeezed in. But of course, his notes aren't there. Because he's "not on the list".
The surgeon asks him: "Why have you come to see me?" And the Old Man says: "Because you told me to, the last time I saw you - and your secretary made the appointment." The guy doesn't give him any more information than before and even less of his time. But the Old Man has an ECG. Because everyone has to have an ECG. It's not particularly relevant. It's a bit like a lapel badge at a seminar; everyone has to have one, to show that they belong there.

So the surgeon says "June" for the operation. Last visit, he said "May". And we'd started getting organised for May. Old Man says: "And I have to be assessed by the team, you said last time?"
Surgeon says: "Well - a blood test and so on, yes."

A blood test? 200 mile round trip for a blood test?
So the Old Man gets in his car and drives 120 miles home.

I'm furious. Why do you have to leave the county for a heart operation? Why do ill people have to travel 200 miles for bullshit? Politicians like to sound off about the NHS wasting the nation's resources. But just who's time, effort, and resources are being wasted here?

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